Posted Fri, Oct 28, 2011 by gunky
There is one fantasy staple that never gets old: good old-fashioned dragon-slaying. In some games, dragons are a dime a dozen, and you kill dozens of them shortly after you are done killing rats in the sewers, skeletons in the graveyard and goblins in the ruins. In the Lord of the Rings Online, there are currently only two, and of those two, Draigoch is the more archetypical fire-breathing death-tyrant.
The quest chain to slay Draigoch first becomes available at level 75. It starts in Galtrev, in the heart of Dunland, and requires heading back to Enedwaith. Just past the gwiber area at the bottom of Nar's Peak, you will find an area patrolled by level 75 Dunlendings - this is the path to the dragon's mountain lair. On the Enedwaith map, you can see the lair at 67.2S, 6.6W - it's the grey dragon shape in the crook in the mountains there.
When you have discovered the location and unlocked the raid, gather up 11 or 23 friends and head in. Be warned - this raid takes a while. It is a single-mob fight, but that mob has almost 10 million morale. An average run using all the fellowship manoeuvres in the right sequence takes just over an hour. If the FMs are not used, it can take closer to 2 hours.
There is not a whole lot of preparation you need to do for this raid. Draigoch doesn't apply any big debuffs like other raid bosses, so you won't even need to bring curative potions. You will need to bring lots of morale and power potions, though, and any class consumables you normally use for raids. Much of the damage you suffer in the dragon's lair is common/physical, but the breath attacks are fire-based, which can be mitigated by boosting Tactical Defense. Fire attacks are much less common than the physical attacks and most players shouldn't need to worry about them if things are going right. There are also lots of pauses between combat, and healers will often be very busy, so increasing non-combat morale and power regeneration will help a lot - use the Destiny perk if you can.
For group makeup, this raid requires one main tank and one off-tank, and one healer who only heals the tanks - a Captain can keep up with healing duties for this, but a Minstrel or Rune-keeper works well and is generally preferred. The off-tank can be a Captain, Champion, Warden or Guardian - basically whatever is available. Captains work well in any role up here, and are handy to have for their two in-combat revives. The tanks and their "pocket healers" will spend a large portion of the fight separated from the rest of the raid, and a third healer is needed to keep the other 7 guys in fighting form. The group also needs at least one Burglar who can reliably trigger Fellowship Manoeuvers. The remaining 7 positions are flexible.
This raid is Hunter-friendly - there's really no way to steal aggro from the tanks, and Hunters can stay in Strength stance for the entire fight. If you bring one Hunter, though, you'll need to bring a second to even things out - each group needs to have a Hunter with the same non-combat run speed buff, otherwise they risk lagging behind during the runs to the different positions. Because the claws do distributed area-effect damage, you want to spread it across as many people as possible so that front-liners don't get 1-shotted. DPS classes can be as aggressive as they please. If the healing situation is handled, Rune-keepers can go all-out DPS.
The groups need to be divided in a fairly specific way:
|Main Tank's Healer
||Hunter (with +21% Find The Path run speed from LI legacy)|
|Hunter (with +21% Find The Path run speed from LI legacy)
|6th guy (DPS)
This is for the 12-person Tier II challenge-mode version. It is also possible to run this raid with a full 24-person raid using these same strategies. The 24-person version is faster and easier, and for group makeup, the remaining 12 spots can be pretty much all DPS with one or two spots reserved for healers.
"Welcome, thieves. I can smell the dread in your sweat. I hear the whistle of fear in your breath and feel the fluttering of your little hearts as they race in your chests. But come now, why do you fear? There is plenty of treasure here...enough for all, and more to spare." - Draigoch the Red
The entrance to Draigoch's lair is a winding switchback tunnel with ominous openings in the inside wall. This part of the raid is possibly the most dangerous, and you're not even fighting yet. The dragon will peek his head through the holes around the walls of his cave, and if he sees anyone in the tunnel, he will incinerate them with dragon-fire.
The blue line is the switchback path. The yellow rays are the fire zones. You can tell where he is looking by the rays of light shining through the holes - keep your distance from them, and don't stand on any of the gold piles near the holes. The gold gets cooked, and so does anyone touching them.
He positions himself randomly while he is searching, so if you are blocked by the eye-rays, wait a moment for him to move and then charge through. In the third tunnel, you will actually see his giant, fanged snout and glowing eyes peeking through. Fortunately, Draigoch has tunnel-vision, so if you're standing next to his head he won't see you. This is beneficial when you reach the end of the switchbacks and make it to the platform overlooking his chamber. You can stand on the platform right next to his giant head and watch him frantically search the tunnels.
Next to the platform, you'll see a flat circle on the floor. This circle collapses when 6 people stand on it, and you fall through into a giant pile of gold. The gold here cushions your fall so you don't break a leg from the drop. From here, you will move to the southwest corner to a glowing chest, on a ledge jutting out into the cavern. This is where the fight starts - at Position A in the Crude Illustration:
The main tank and pocket-healer will remain at Position A, and the rest of the raid will move to position A-1. Draigoch is one of the largest creatures in the game, and for most of the fight, you'll only be able to fight one piece of him at a time - the head, which stays at the top layer, or the individual claws, which poke into openings in the inside walls of the lower tunnels. This maze of tunnels can be confusing at first but, once you learn the layout, it gets easier. In the illustration, the 3 levels are represented by concentric rings - the outermost is the top layer, and the innermost represents the bottom ring running around the floor of the cavern. In actuality, the layers are one on top of the other and not concentric rings, and the connecting tunnels criss-cross and wind back around, but that is difficult to convey in a 2-D illustration.
Positions A, B, C and D are ledges on the inside of the top ring - this is where the tank will fight Dragioch's head. Lower positions are reached by following the upper ring counter-clockwise - the next downward ramp runs counter-clockwise and leads to the lowest ring, and the second down ramp turns back clockwise and leads down to the middle layer. The middle ring is where the rest of the raid will fight the dragon's left and right fore-claws. This level does not run all the way around - one end connects to the upper ring, the other end to the lower ring. The bottom ring is where the group fights the left and right lower claws. Confused yet? Don't worry, it's not as hard as it sounds. Just get the rest of the raid to position A-1, where they will fight the Front Left Claw when the battle begins.
"What's this? Come for your share of riches? Seek you your place in history, as a slayer of dragons? Know you not who I am? Allow me to introduce myself. I am DRAIGOCH! Long have I ruled these lands. Ancient were my forebears, and many the ages that have passed beneath my wings! Mighty was Smaug the Golden, brought unto ruin by mischief and trickery, and still I, I persist! My fire burns bright as ever! Come then, wretched fools. You death is at hand. Here, let me give it to you!" - Draigoch the Red
The tank will use the treasure chest, which will activate Draigoch. The great, talkative dragon will go into a long-winded introduction, letting everyone know how bad-ass and awesome he is and how insignificant the invaders are.
The tank will stay out on the ledge, and his pocket-healer will tuck in safely behind the wall, keeping the tank in healing range but staying out of range of the giant head. All the tank has to do here is keep the head busy and hold its attention. The head doesn't need to be killed, just kept busy. As long as the healer stays out of line of sight, this shouldn't prove all that challenging. There is a similar safe-spot for healers at each of the four ledges - usually marked by a treasure chest or gold pile.
The rest of the raid waits at position A-1 to fight the Front Left Claw. The claws do an area-effect attack that is distributed among the raiders in range. If only one or two people are within the attack range of the claws, they can get 1-shotted, so the group needs to stay clustered up to distribute the damage evenly. Everyone in the claw group needs to soak up some damage or the front-liners start dying, so cluster up close. When this claw is defeated, move to position A-2 and fight the Front Right Claw, then to A-3 for the Lower Right Claw, then to A-4 for the Lower Left Claw, as per the Crude Illustration:
The reason for this pattern (top first, bottom after) is that after all four claws are defeated, Draigoch falls to the ground in the middle of the chamber. If you're fighting a lower claw, you can get in there faster and take advantage of the full 80-second span of his vulnerability. If you finish on a front claw, you have to run down the ramps to get into the central chamber, losing precious seconds.
During Phase One, claw fights are lengthy and slow, and Draigoch may switch positions before the group defeats all four claws. The claw will become unattackable, and the tank will be able to see where the dragon moves to and follow it there - he will move either left (clockwise) or right (counter-clockwise), one position. In other words, from Position A, he will move to either Position B or Position D, but not to Position C across the room. When Draigoch moves, the tank will call out "left" or "right," and the claw group will move accordingly, moving to the same relative spot in the next position.
Another hazard to watch for in the claw fights is the fire "puddle" that will appear at one of the claws. This puddle will appear randomly at one of the claws after each fly-up, and melee characters will want to skirt around it when fighting that claw. If it's not possible to skirt around the fire, that claw will have to be ranged down. It is usually possible to dodge around the fire, though.
The tank and the healer have to move quickly, ideally before Dragioch shouts to announce his intentions - when he moves, he fills the top hallway with fire around the spot where the tank was fighting the head. As soon as the head becomes unattackable, the tank and his pocket healer need to bail, keeping an eye on which direction Dragioch is heading, and get to the next position.
Example: Dragioch moves clockwise while the group is fighting the Front Right Claw at A-2. The tank calls out "left" and runs to position B to tank the head. The claw group moves to position B-2, running down to the lowest ring and then up the next ramp on the outside, and continues to battle the Front Right Claw until it is defeated.
When all four claws are defeated, Dragioch will fall to the middle of the cavern. Wait for him to finish falling before running in, or you could get crushed and killed. When he lands, the claw group runs in and attacks the body. This is a full-on burn - use your cooldowns and do as much damage as you can.
This is also the part where Burglars play an important role by triggering Fellowship Manoeuvres. There's a new mechanic in this fight for FMs - if the group does the right ones in the right order, they apply debuffs that last the entire fight, making it easier as the fight continues. The group has 80 seconds to do damage and land as many FMs as possible - if the group is experienced and quick, you can get 3 per ground battle, as there is a 20-second immunity after the FM lands. Since the tanks stay up top during this stage, they should not be in the FM-trigger group.
The raid leader will assign everyone in the FM group a number, and that player must hit the right color when his number comes up. The raid leader then sets the FMs by posting the color order in raid chat. These special FMs use only red and yellow, so when your number comes up, be prepared to hit your color.
Example: Raid leader sets the order - "1 - Stan, 2 - Kyle, 3 - Cartman, 4 - Butters, 5 - Timmy, 6 - Kenny". The scheduled FM is YRYRYR - Stan hits Yellow, Kyle hits Red, Cartman hits Yellow, Butters hits Red, Timmy hits Yellow, Kenny hits Red. That one lands, and the raid leader sets the next FM - RRYRYY. Stan hits Red, Kyle hits Red, Cartman hits Yellow, Butters hits Red, Timmy hits Yellow, Kenny hits Yellow.
It may help to make a bunch of FM-order macros - use the /alias feature, /shortcuts in unused quickslots, or programmable macro keys.
There are 3 sets of FMs, each with 4 manoeuvers, for a total of 12. For the first set, each successful FM will debuff one of the claws, causing it to take +100% incoming melee damage and +50% incoming ranged and tactical damage. These debuffs are permanent, and when all four land, the claw fights will go much faster.
1. Just A Flesh Wound
2. First Blood
3. Surgical Strike
4. A Slight Sting
With the second set, each FM applies a stackable +25% incoming melee damage / +12.5% incoming ranged & tactical damage debuff to the dragon's body. When all four land, the body takes +100% incoming melee and +50% incoming ranged & tactical damage, making the ground fights go faster.
2. A Snail Out Of Its Shell
3. Deep Wound
4. A Chink In Their Armour
For the third set, each successful FM takes away 5% of the dragon's maximum morale. When all four land, that's 20% of ~9.8 million = about 1,960,000 morale blasted away by the sheer power of coordination.
1. The Sound of Inevitability
2. Twisting The Dagger
3. Sudden Death
4. Stroke Of Midnight
After 80 seconds, Draigoch will recover himself and fly back to the walls, always returning to Position A in the southwest corner. Get back into the tunnels and resume fighting the claws. Rinse and repeat as needed - you will need to engage him in ground battles a few times to force him into the next phase - his phase changes are based on morale thresholds. Ideally, you will want to get the first 6 FMs off during Phase One to make the consecutive phases go faster.
In the 12-man challenge-mode version, only one group will need to worry about triggering FMs - the group with the Burglar and no tanks. This is fairly easy to manage in terms of assigning spots, but the one Burglar will have to make every FM count - Exploit Opening, Trip and thrown Bags of Marbles will need to be ready for each fight. In a 24-man raid with multiple Burglars, three groups will need to be managed, but the raid leader can cycle through the available Burglars if one of them misses on a FM attempt.
When Draigoch reaches the morale threshold, the battle music changes and he shouts, "Scatter then, rats, hide in your maze!" This signals the transition to Phase Two, and when this happens, the off-tank needs to get up to the top layer. The off-tank has a fairly boring job - he's the insurance policy against one of Phase Two's more challenging aspects - the dragon dekes and head-fakes when he changes position, and tanks can be fooled when determining where he is moving.
It is important for the tanks to be able to pick up aggro on the head as quickly as possible - when Draigoch has no target for his flaming wrath, he takes it out on the entire cavern, causing cave-ins. These cave-ins do around 770 damage per 2 seconds to everyone in the tunnels, so the tanks need to get aggro on the head as quickly as possible.
One way to do this is to position the two tanks on opposite sides of the room, and have them move consistently clockwise (or counter-clockwise) after each position change. As long as they are on opposite sides and always move both in the same direction, there will always be one tank in position to pick up the aggro of the head when it is time. The healer will have time to get to the proper spot without much fuss, even if he has to run all the way around the ring. This is kind of boring for the person not tanking the head - he will just hold his position and watch the dragon's movements, and be ready to move to the next spot.
When the cave-ins happen, the claw group needs to huddle together, against the outside walls and away from the claws, and keep themselves alive. This part of the fight is kind of interesting - the group can suffer a near-total wipe and still have a chance to complete the instance, provided the healers can keep themselves alive. There are long moments where the group is not in combat, and healers can take this time to revive them as long as they are still alive and kicking. If the entire claw group dies except the healer, no big deal. Rez 'em and keep going. Ideally, the claw group will have loads of morale, self-heals and potions at their disposal and will be able to withstand the cave-in damage until the tanks manage to pick up head-aggro. The healers just need to focus on keeping themselves alive.
Other than these two things, Phase Two is basically the same as Phase One - tank the head, burn the claws, engage in a ground battle and trigger FMs when Draigoch falls. If the group manages to pull off all 12 FMs in the sequence by the end of this phase, the last stage will go much smoother and quicker.
The final stage, where the dragon begins to recognize his peril, is indicated when Draigoch shouts, "Cowards! Stand and fight me!" Everyone, tanks and all, drop down into the main chamber and fight a ground battle on the big bed of gold coins.
During this phase, the claws still do distributed AoE damage, and the claw group is still the claw group. The main tank still needs to take care of the head, but this time the head is in a position where it can hurt people that get too close. The tank needs to stay in front of the face, and the claw group needs to attack the claws from behind, but keeping in a fairly tight cluster so the area-effect damage is distributed evenly.
Dragioch is huge- seriously massive, so big that screenshots will mostly show only a part of his body, and so enormous that his every step causes the entire cavern to quake. When the cave quakes, everybody hops and inductions are interrupted. These quakes happen often, so be prepared to be frustrated if you use a lot of long-induction skills.
During this phase, he will shout "My breath is death and your lives are but a trifle in my presence," and will then fly up and create a flaming, coin-flying storm. When he shouts, the group needs to run to the spot where his tail was to avoid the flames - it is marked by a shadowy "cool spot" in the coins. Eventually, he will land, and he will be rotated 90 degrees, either clockwise or counter-clockwise, from his previous position. The tank needs to run back in and pick up the head again, and the claw group needs to get back to work disabling the feet.
Be careful heading back in to engage him after a fly-up. Some of the coins are burning from his breath attacks and leave lingering hot-spots that can do serious damage to anyone running through them. Watch for the brighter patches of coins and don't step in them.
When all four claws are disabled, he will be grounded again, and everyone in the raid can attack his body. If the full sequence of 12 FMs has been successfully completed, this should go much faster than it did in previous phases.
When you finally manage to bring Draigoch's morale down to zero, he goes into his final soliloquy. Get out of the central chamber as quickly as possible, because he means to take everyone out with him when he goes. He rants and raves about how he will claim a victory even in the face of clear defeat, and he flies up to the cavern's roof, pulling it down. You don't want to be caught in Draigoch's death throes, so go hang out in the tunnels until he makes his final grand exit.
"To the last, wretches, even in death, I shall not be bested! With my last breath, I will make ashes of you! With my demise, you will know the crushing weight of your failure... Mightiest am I, and mightiest shall I remain! None shall face me and live! To the last." - Draigioch the Red's final words
If this is your first time beating Draigoch on Tier 2 difficulty, and successfully complete all 12 FMs in the sequence, you will complete the following deeds and receive their rewards:
Draigoch's Lair, Tier 1 - Title: Bathed in Fire; Ornate Heritage Rune of Knowledge (167500 item XP); 10 Turbine Points
Draigoch's Lair, Tier 2 - Title: Born From Ashes; Greater Scroll of Empowerment; 10 Turbine Points
Draigoch's Lair, Challenge - Title: Manoeuvre Master; Fused Deep Relics (Tier 7 relics); 10 Turbine Points
Draigoch the Red (3 of 3) - Title: the Red; Worn Symbol of Celebrimbor; 10 Turbine Points
In other words, for completing the challenge the first time, you automatically get the rare item you need to make a level 75 legendary item, increase its max level to 70, level it up a bit and slot a Tier 7 relic in it. And if you're lucky on your rolls (or have DKP to burn), you can make 2 of them. You also get 6 Superior Fourth Marks, which puts you well on your way toward buying a new piece of raid armor from the vendor in Galtrev.
Additionally, there will be up to 3 more Worn Symbols of Celebrimbor in the chests. There are also up to 4 barter tokens for the new raid armor helmet and/or shoulders, a handful of teal items (armor, off-hand weapons, jewellery, shields), and a bundle of relics and item XP runes. Additionally, there will be a handful of Draigoch Scales, used by Tailors to make one of four orange-named level 75 cloaks.
There is a second chest that everyone can loot for more relics, runes and coin. Unfortunately, the mountains of gold coins, gems, chests and other riches lying scattered around the lair are not lootable - likely fused solid now by the dragon's breath. But if you feel like having a laugh, you can /groundroll around in it and do your best Scrooge McDuck impression.
Many thanks to Khaurin, Ariahnnas and the good folks in Aesir! Read about them in Understanding LotRO Raiding Kinships with Aesir of Arkenstone